The South Asia Channel
Daily brief: Pakistan tests nuclear capable missile
New release: Stephen Tankel on Lashkar-e-Taiba (NAF). Wonk Watch: "Winning Hearts and Minds? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," by Andrew Beath, Fotini Christia, and Ruben Enikolopov (SSRN). Up in the air Earlier today, the Pakistani military announced that it successfully test-fired the Hatf-VIII, a cruise missile with a range of 220 miles that ...
New release: Stephen Tankel on Lashkar-e-Taiba (NAF).
Wonk Watch: "Winning Hearts and Minds? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," by Andrew Beath, Fotini Christia, and Ruben Enikolopov (SSRN).
Up in the air
Earlier today, the Pakistani military announced that it successfully test-fired the Hatf-VIII, a cruise missile with a range of 220 miles that is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead (AP, The News, BBC). Yesterday in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas, at least 33 militants, two pro-government tribesmen, and one Pakistani soldier were killed in clashes in Orakzai, Mohmand, and Kurram (Dawn, Geo). Six died in targeted killings in Karachi, and a shootout in the Baluchistan town of Mir Hasan left two Pakistani policemen and two militants dead (DT, AFP).
At trade talks yesterday between India and Pakistan, the Pakistani delegation said India would be granted most-favored-nation trading status by October, following the removal of "non-tariff barriers and all other restrictive practices" (ET, Hindu, The News, Dawn).
After the arrest of the pro-independence JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik and two senior colleagues, who were staging a sit-in to "protest against indiscriminate arrests of young people" in Indian-administered Kashmir, demonstrators protested in the streets of Srinagar and Indian security forces reportedly fired tear gas (AFP, AJE). Earlier this week, a bus driver was killed during a stone-throwing protest in the city of Baramulla, north of Srinagar.
The draft in Afghanistan?
Senior Afghan officials are reportedly considering the institution of a military draft in Afghanistan, replacing the current volunteer system, though the idea is still in the "discussion," rather than "implementation," phase (Post). U.S. military commanders are reportedly "dismayed" that three key aid projects run by USAID, which are "supposed to support local governments, agricultural development and job-training efforts," have been "held up by bureaucratic missteps and funding cuts by Congress," and now will not begin until most of the summer fighting season has ended (Post).
At yesterday’s announcement of the reshuffling of his administration’s national security team, U.S. president Barack Obama called on the officials to manage a "new phase" in the Afghan war, the transition to Afghan security control (AFP, AFP). The NYT assesses that top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, who was appointed to lead the C.I.A., will be "more squarely than ever" in conflict with Pakistan, which does "not regard him as a friend" (NYT). An American official reportedly said that Pakistan, "increasingly embarrassed by the United States’ drone campaign," has asked the Agency to remove its personnel from the Shamsi air base in Baluchistan, where some of the drones are based; the withdrawal has not occurred yet, "but is expected soon," and the drones will be flown out of bases in Afghanistan, as some of them already are. The AP analyzes that Petraeus may bring "military-style accountability" to the C.I.A., Walter Pincus considers how Petraeus could make a good first impression at the Agency, and Thom Shanker reviews the work of Petraeus’s successor in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, in Iraq (AP, Post, NYT).
Royal wedding fever
In honor of the marriage of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton this morning, some British troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand province have decked out their base with Union flags featuring photos of the royal couple (Tel). ABC News spoke with young Afghan and Pakistani children about their impressions of the royal wedding, and one Afghan girl commented that a prince should be "handsome, and dashing, and brave," while another said that she wouldn’t want to be a queen "because queens have lots of problems" (ABC, ABC). Pakistan’s high commissioner to the U.K., Wajid Shamsul Hasan, represented Pakistan at the wedding (The News).